November 22nd, 2009
07:38 AM ET

Dear President Obama #307: Haul out the holly...

Reporter's Note: I have started my Christmas shopping, and I’m sure the White House is hoping an awful lot of other Americans get busy laying down their dollars soon. After all, economic recoveries don’t come in red sleighs. You’ve got to build them. Just as I am building an unbroken record of writing to the president every day.

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Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

Have you been to a mall lately? I suspect not. I can’t recall the last time I saw video of a president in a mall. Which is a little strange, because I’ve seen pictures of you presidential types in everything from dairy barns to motorboat factories. And heaven knows if you wanted to see how the economy was doing a mall would be a pretty good place to end your quest.

“Where do you travel, good sir?”

“I seek the oracle of the economy.”

“Then continue on. It’s down on the left. It’s called J. Crew.”

Such a trip would be worthwhile, and here’s why. Like a lot of Americans, I have started plundering the shopping horizon to get ready for the holidays, and I’ve been struck by a number of things. Inventories seem to be down everywhere; like no one wants to risk getting stuck with a pile of purple turtlenecks that no one will buy.

The stores are not quite so stripped as to evoke that retro-commie-chic-Soviet look yet, (“Comrade, quick! Karkov’s Shop has a case of light bulbs!”) but compared to the opulence of past years, it does look like the Jim-John’s Variety Store version of Christmas. And to be honest, it’s a little depressing. Seems like a lot of the stores I knew are gone, and have been replaced by junkier places…you know, those shops that sell cheap jewelry to teenagers, or clothing so trashy even the Kardashians might blush. Maybe.

But if the malls are different, so are the shoppers. You don’t have to look too closely to see worry about jobs, worry about mortgages, worry about tuition, worry about worry.

I remember just a few years ago being vaguely disgusted by runaway consumerism; the frantic slapping down of plastic to buy truckloads of things we don’t need. Seriously, if you brought a pioneer from the 1800’s into a Sharper Image and said you needed to get something, he’d slap your face. I have nothing against people having nice things, and frankly I needed that massage chair. For medical reasons. The remote control dinosaur too.

But like I said, all of that is not much of a worry anymore. Still, if you want to take a little field trip, give me a call. We can get pretzels, maybe take in a movie…after all, if we don’t do our part for the economy at the mall, I suspect the economy will just keep mauling us.



Follow Tom on Twitter @tomforemancnn.

Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Linda Finch

    BUY America a Christmas gift by BUYING AMERICAN MADE goods and services. Don't get lazy and run off to WALMART and give CHINA all of our Christmas dollars. Take the time to read labels and buy American or buy gift cards to American restaurants, theaters, theme parks, etc. Create employment opportunities in your own little way. There are a few products other than Harley Davidsons out there to buy that are made in America, albeit not much. It's worth the effort. Encourage others to do likewise. Products made in China seem inexpensive but they aren't; not in the long run, not at all.

    November 23, 2009 at 5:29 am |
  2. Stan

    I really wish some of the younger Kids coming up would learn how to sign, I mean really sing. It seems like the Music these days is going to Rap and the words that hardly anyone can understand. Young people lets don't forget where Music came from, lyrics that people can understand.

    November 23, 2009 at 2:06 am |
  3. nea

    Dear President Obama just dont ever give up on what you was elecred for never mind the haters there will always be those but just to say im behind you and Praying for you because i trust GOD that he will make your Presidency a sucess!

    November 23, 2009 at 12:18 am |
  4. Lance Gayhart Lexington, KY

    love it Tom

    November 22, 2009 at 10:28 pm |
  5. Stan

    Just a question for thought! Why do the theaters only release black movies in just a few theaters???????

    November 22, 2009 at 8:35 pm |
  6. Tim Gibson

    Tom, unfortunately the economy had to be put down, it mauled the people one time to many.

    November 22, 2009 at 10:02 am |
  7. Vinay Mahajan

    Can you write to President about fee increase for UCL students

    It pains that Wall Street gets bonuses and poor students get 32% fee increase.

    Fox business says Govt is taking money from rich and giving to poor - I feel otherwise - our Govt or system is taking money from poor students and giving it to rich through tax payer investments

    November 22, 2009 at 8:21 am |

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